A Diet Rich in Iron
What is the best rivarly in football? Can Bama pull the upset? The editors debate.
By: Braden Gall | 11/24/10, 9:00 AM EST
Has Gundy earned Coach of the Year honors?
1. Who are your top three national Coach of the Year candidates?
Braden: The easy choices are named Kelly, Chizik, Patterson and Peterson. But I don't look at the C.O.Y. award that way. Who has done the most unexpected job with the least amount of potential? My three names would be Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, Tom O'Brien of NC State and Bret Bielema of Wisconsin. Gundy gets the edge in my book, especially if the Pokes win the Bedlam Series this weekend and earn their first trip to the Big 12 title game in school history.
Steven: Several candidates come to mind – Mike Gundy, Chip Kelly, Doug Marrone, Jim Harbaugh and Bret Bielema. An argument could be made for each of those coaches to win the award, but I’ll go with Gundy. Oklahoma State was expected to finish near the bottom of the Big 12 South, had five returning starters and was breaking in a new offensive coordinator. The Cowboys are one win away from their first bid to the Big 12 title game – quite an accomplishment considering the question marks entering the season.
Mitch: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. His team was picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Big 12 South. He had a ton of starters to replace on both sides of the ball, yet his team is 10-1 with a chance to win its first-ever division title. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford. He lost Toby Gerhart, No. 2 in the Heisman race last year, and the Cardinal offense is better. This team has only one loss, at No. 1 Oregon. Gene Chizik, Auburn. It’s easy to give all of the credit to Cam Newton, but Chizik has done a great job in his two years at Auburn, and he has the No. 2 team in the nation right now.
2. Will Oregon and Auburn finish the season unbeaten and play for the national championship?
Braden: No. I am not sure if its a Civil War upset on the west coast or Auburn losing to either Alabama or South Carolina, but I think one of these two will drop a game somewhere. Can Gene Chizik keep his team insulated from all of the off-the-field garbage that is swirling around his program for two more weeks? Those are two brutal games in and of themselves — Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier don't need any help to pull an upset.
Steven: Oregon will finish the year unbeaten, but I believe Auburn will lose on Friday to Alabama. The road to an undefeated season isn’t easy for Oregon, as Arizona and Oregon State won’t be pushovers. However, if quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James stay healthy, the Ducks will finish 12-0 and play for the national championship against Boise State.
Mitch: My guess is that Oregon will play for the national title, but I think Auburn will lose one of its final two games. I’m not sure which game it will be — I just think the Tigers won’t beat both Alabama and South Carolina.
Is Pelini too intense on the sidelines?
3. Do you think there was anything wrong with what Bo Pelini did this weekend?
Braden: Aside from losing a conference game to Texas A&M? Nope. Can 18-year-old kids be a little emotional and maybe make poor decisisons? Of course. The same can be said for football coaches too. Would I have publicly lit into Taylor Martinez like Pelini did, probably not. But kids are babied these days — especially the spoiled athletes. Pelini's job isn't to cuddle with his quarterback, it is to win games. You can't have kids making calls to their daddies at halftime — allegedly.
Steven: I thought some of the calls on Nebraska against Texas A&M were questionable, so I can’t blame Pelini for being upset at the officials. The heated one-sided conversation with Taylor Martinez is difficult to judge. There’s no telling what happened in the locker room or if there was another incident prior to this game that set Pelini off about Martinez. Pelini certainly needs to tone it down on the sidelines at times, but he seems to be well-liked among his players, so I doubt this will drive any of them away. As long as this doesn’t become a long-term issue for Pelini and he tones it down a bit, he’ll be fine at Nebraska.
Mitch: That’s tough for me to say. I don’t know what exactly went on behind the scenes and why the coach was so mad. But I do think Pelini needs to settle down a bit. There is nothing wrong being an intense football coach, but you have to be able to bring it down a few notches. As the head coach of a big program, Pelini is constantly under the microscope. He has to realize that everyone is watching his every move. Settle down Bo!
4. Who will get the Rose Bowl berth from the Big Ten?
Braden: The Badgers are the easy pick here. The Big Red exorcised some demons last week with their first win in Ann Arbor since 1994. Looking forward, Michigan State has the toughest test of the weekend, and a loss to Penn State in Happy Valley would give Wisconsin the tie-breaker over Ohio State. If they all win, Ohio State would have to be very convincing to jump Bucky in the BCS standings. However, I believe, in spite of their loss to UW, that the Buckeyes are still the best team, so I would not be shocked to see them leap-frog Wisconsin and earn the trip to Pasadena.
Steven: I’m going to go with Wisconsin. I think Ohio State beats Michigan, Michigan State defeats Penn State and the Badgers easily handle Northwestern, which creates a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings. With three teams tied, the BCS standings will be used to pick the Big Ten champ and I expect that to be Wisconsin when the dust settles next Sunday. The only scenario in which the Badgers won’t make it to Pasadena is if Ohio State loses to Michigan – extremely unlikely considering the recent performance of the Wolverine defense.
Mitch: I’d say Wisconsin. I believe Wisconsin will beat Northwestern, Ohio State will beat Michigan and Penn State will beat Michigan State. That leaves UW and OSU in a tie, and UW wins due to its head-to-head victory over the Buckeyes in Madison.
5. What is your favorite rivalry in college football?
Braden: There are too many to count. Michigan-Ohio State is the greatest rivarly in college sports. But it isn't neccessarily my favorite right now. I love the passion of the Southern rivarly games between teams like South Carolina and Clemson. I love the gameday experience of the Texas State Fair and the Red River Shootout (if you have ever lived in Texas, you still call it the Shootout). I love the tradition and history of matchups like Army-Navy and USC-Notre Dame. How do you top games named things like The Holy War, The Backyard Brawl and Clean, Old Fashioned Hate? In recent years, however, my personal favorite has been The Civil War. Oregon is the most passionate Pac-10 fan base and Oregon State isn't far behind. Rose Bowls have been on the line in recent years, and this season, the stakes are even bigger. A trip to the national championship game will be at stake for Oregon when Billy Bob Thornton's "Beavers and Ducks" square-off in Corvalis next weekend.
Steven: Rivalry week is one of my favorite periods of the college football schedule and I’d pick Ohio State-Michigan or Alabama-Auburn as my favorite. Ohio State-Michigan has lost a bit of luster the past two seasons with Michigan’s struggles, while Alabama-Auburn looks to be heating up. Auburn coach Gene Chizik isn’t afraid to go head-to-head with Alabama’s Nick Saban on the recruiting trail, and there was a lot on the line when these two teams met last year - as is the case with the upcoming matchup on Friday.
Mitch: The Iron Bowl was always my favorite growing up, but I have come to appreciate Ohio State-Michigan more in recent years. I wish we had a current rivalry as heated as Ohio State-Michigan was during the Bo and Woody years. Great stuff.
Year Three of the Campus Challenge returns as Mitch returns to defend his championship. The rules: Each person picks a quarterback, running back and wide receiver to make up his "team" for the week in an effort to amass as many passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards and total touchdowns as possible. Whoever has the best stats as the end of the year wins. All players selected must be from a BCS conference team playing an FBS opponent, and each editor can only use a player once during the season.
Week 13 Selections
|Quarterback||T.J. Yates, UNC||Russell Wilson, NC St||Darron Thomas, Ore.|
|Running back||DeMarco Murray, Okla.||Kenard Reeves, Vandy||Boom Herron, OSU|
|Receiver||Randall Cobb, Kent.||A.J. Green, UGA||Julio Jones, Bama|
|Week 11 Results||Steven||Mitch||Braden|
|Passing Yards||3,544 (1)||2,740 (3)||2,917 (2)|
|Rushing Yards||1,972 (2)||1,940 (3)||2,136 (1)|
|Receiving Yards||1,469 (1)||1,234 (3)||1,317 (2)|
|Touchdowns||66 (1)||52 (3)||65 (2)|
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